"Considered the greatest - and most influential - writer of the twentieth century, Marcel Proust was also one of its most fascinating figures. In this portrait, Edmund White, author of an acclaimed biography of Jean Genet and the much admired novel A Boy's Own Story displays a rare understanding of this most complex man. A strange, reclusive genius who often lay in bed for days at a time in his cork-lined room, obsessively rewriting his masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past, Proust was at other times a tireless socialite, attending the grandest parties and dazzling the guests - especially the most important ones - with his vivacity and wit. White also depicts the yearning, lonely boy, the ambitious grasper after honors, and the miserably closeted homosexual, an aspect of his life that this book explores frankly and perceptively."--BOOK JACKET.